Pipeline Skate Park to re-open Saturday

City spent nearly $30,000 on upgrades and labor for facility

Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Pipeline Skate Park will have a grand re-opening this Saturday, following a closure last month to address concerns about safety and inappropriate behavior.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

The Friends of the Pipeline Skate Park, a newly formed group of advocates for the park, is hosting a skate clinic and open house on Saturday beginning at noon. Following an hour-long skateboard lesson there will be music, food and skateboard demonstrations from 1 to 4 p.m.

Christopher Howard, a skateboarder for 9 years and member of the advocate group, said he is excited to have the park re-open with the new improvements. The park was closed down for repairs on Jan. 4.

"It's been locked up for everybody," he said. "It will be nice to finally get in there and be able to skateboard and not worry about getting hurt on the pieces that weren't done."

The city has spent nearly $30,000 on upgrades and labor to bring the park back to its former glory. Workers have resurfaced and finished the ramps, erected a gate and installed security cameras.

The park will begin to operate under regular hours and will be locked up overnight to reduce illicit activity that had been occurring. The park will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

"When you go and see the park, it's not going to be this fabulous makeover," said Juneau Police Department spokeswoman Cindee Brown-Mills, who has been working with the advocate group. "But a lot of work has been done and the city has done a great job of fixing just minor things that needed to happen."

The Friends of the Pipeline Skate Park want to repair the reputation of the park that was damaged by people vandalizing the facility and using it a as place to consume drugs and alcohol in the middle of the night, she said.

"They are interested in ... changing the reputation of the skate park because it's gotten a bad reputation over the last several years," Brown-Mills said, "and ... fostering new skaters, kind of passing on the legacy."

The group is also planning to work on a mural sometime this summer that will bring back some color to the facility, Parks and Rec. Director Marc Matsil said.

"They will be doing a mural that's not offensive and generically hip for everybody," he said.

The city hopes to encourage active skateboarding and reduce the amount of illicit activity that was occurring in recent years, Matsil said.

"We're just hoping that the interest continues and that we get more participants and the potential for fundraising to make it a world-class facility," he said. "That's kind of the goal."

The recent renovation of the skate park is just the first step of a much bigger picture, Howard said.

"What we're trying to do eventually is have a complete remodel of the entire park," he said. "This is just kind of the beginning step to show the public that we're out there and we're trying to turn the reputation around."

The skaters are trying to make the park safe again so it's a better place for young adults and children to go have fun, Howard said.

"But we have to do baby steps," he said. "Right now we have it completely skateable. All the ramps that weren't finished are now being finished so it's a lot safer for all the kids and everyone."

Saturday's event will also act as a fundraiser for equipment and repairs in the future, Brown-Mills said. There will be hotdogs and popcorn on sale as well.

"Folks can come out and support the park, buy a hot dog and watch the skaters," she said.

• Contact reporter Eric Morrison at 523-2269 or eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.

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